While raw and at times, a little uncomfortable to watch, Mark Wahlberg’s latest project ‘Father Stu’ is a story of redemption and faith in the face of suffering.
When we first meet Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg), he’s an amateur boxer who’s taken a beating both inside and outside the ring.
Having lost his brother at a young age, Stu’s relationship with his father Bill (Mel Gibson) is fractured to say the least and after one too many knocks to the head, he moves to LA to find a career that’s kinder to his body and hopefully, his wallet.
While working at a grocery store, he meets a woman who, as they so often do, changes everything.
Only one problem, Carmen (Teresa Ruiz) is a devout Catholic and won’t have anything to do with Stu who is anything but.
“The last thing I need is another father to fail” – Stuart Long
Despite Stu’s obvious indifference and even frustration with God, he is only a not so holy mission to win over the lovely Carmen.
While Stu is diligent in his pursuit of Carmen and all that entails, he remains skeptical until he has a powerful encounter with God that alters his future. He decides to become a priest, a decision which no one is pleased with including the church.
Despite the title and obvious journey of redemption from boxer to priest, Christian viewers might still find the content challenging.
However, despite the swearing, drugs, drinking and sexual content, we see an authentic and often humorous portrayal of someone’s journey to Jesus. The search for redemption and healing in relationships is often one step forward, two steps back which we see represented throughout the film.
The movie is a passion project for Mark Wahlberg who wanted to share Father Stu’s story of grit and grace with others.
When talking with Raymond Arroyo for the National Catholic Register, he shared about how he wanted the movie to be brutally honest and remind people that God didn’t come to save the righteous.
“I love the Church, but for me, it’s not about the Church so much as the guy who died to build it and his message. Everybody else [is] human … working to serve God the best they can. We’re all weak. And I get that. But he found his calling, and he was really ready to commit to serving God in a very different way.” Mark Wahlberg via the National Catholic Register.
It’s not always linear or pretty, but Stu’s earnest desire to become a priest and serve God despite his flaws is powerful.
Father Stu stars Academy Award Nominee® Mark Wahlberg (Best Supporting Actor, The Departed, 2006) as Father Stu, along with Academy Award Winner® Mel Gibson (Best Director, Braveheart, 1995), Academy Award Nominee® Jacki Weaver (Best Supporting Actor, Silver Linings Playbook, 2012) and Teresa Ruiz (Narcos).
Father Stu is in cinemas May 12.
Feature image supplied.